Agile development matures over time and we wanted to provide you a comprehensive list of best practices to improve your use of a kanban board in your daily stands as you work to improve your agile development within your software team.
- Limit Work in Progress: One of the key best practices when using a Kanban board is to limit the amount of work in progress. This helps to ensure that the team is focused on completing items of work, rather than starting too many new items at once. By limiting the amount of work in progress, the team can also identify and manage bottlenecks or constraints in their work.
- Use Visual Signals: A Kanban board is a visual tool, so it is important to use visual signals to represent the status of items of work. For example, using different colors or shapes to represent different types of work, or using visual indicators to show when work is blocked or delayed.
- Track Lead Time: Lead time is the time it takes to complete an item of work from start to finish. Tracking lead time is a useful best practice, as it allows the team to identify any delays or bottlenecks in their work and to make improvements.
- Use Swimlanes: Swimlanes are horizontal lanes that are used to group items of work by category or priority. Using swimlanes can help the team to focus on specific areas of work, and to identify and manage bottlenecks or constraints.
- Encourage Collaboration: A Kanban board is a tool that is used by the whole team, so it is important to encourage collaboration and communication. The team should work together to update the Kanban board, and to identify and resolve any issues or obstacles that are preventing them from completing their work.
- Measure and Track Performance: Measuring and tracking performance is important, as it allows the team to identify trends and patterns in their work, and to make improvements. The team should use metrics such as lead time, cycle time, or throughput to measure and track performance.
- Implement Feedback Loops: It’s important to implement feedback loops, where the team regularly reviews their work and progress, and uses feedback from stakeholders and customers to guide further development. This allows the team to quickly respond to changes in requirements or customer needs, and to continuously improve the software.
- Consider using Kanban software: Depending on the complexity of the project, it could be beneficial to use specialized software to help manage the Kanban board. Such software provides additional features such as automatic flow calculation, lead time tracking, and reporting.
- Continuously improve: Kanban is a continuous improvement process, so it’s important that the team regularly reviews their process and makes adjustments as necessary. This will help the team to identify and resolve any issues that are preventing them from completing their work and to ensure that the Kanban board remains effective.
- Keep it simple: It’s important to keep the Kanban board simple, with as few columns and categories as possible. This will make it easier for the team to understand and use, and will help to ensure that the Kanban board is effective.
If you can follow the list of top 10 best practices for your agile development you will see over time your process improves, your delivery become more reliable, and your team work together to iteratively deliver on a continuous basis.